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Stone discs from Cromarty Medieval Burgh, Scotland

An unusual assemblage of 148 flat stone discs was recovered during excavations at Cromarty Medieval Burgh  Many were found in middens and shell middens dating to the 13th and 14th Centuries.

Ann Clarke

Stone discs from Medieval Cromarty. Photo by Ann Clarke

The discs were quickly made by selecting whole or split cobbles and then flaking them coarsely around the perimeter to form a roughly circular outline. The intention seems to have been to produce a sub-polygonal to sub-circular disc with a flat cross-section. They range in size from 20mm to 120mm in diameter but there are distinct concentrations around 60mm and 80mm.

Were they used as stoppers for vessels such as pottery jars or perhaps baskets? Could they be net weights? The quantity of discs is unusual at Medieval Scottish/British sites and suggests they may be linked to some sort of on-site processing/storage activity.

Ann Clarke

Anvils/Crushers from Medieval Cromarty. Photo by Ann Clarke

Some of the discs were thicker and heavier than the rest and appeared to have traces of pecking on one face. Perhaps they were used as anvils or to crush material.

Does anyone know of similar assemblages in Europe? If you do then I’d love to hear from you using the contact details through my website.

Posted in Medieval, Stone tools.

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